Originally Posted by Hifisound
( My above questions were before the results )
Would be interesting to hear Dr @Floyd Toole
's insights on the one sided result.
Also @John Schuermann
, did the M2s had same toe in as Salons (none or otherwise) ? I wonder if cross-firing in front of listener will be beneficial to M2s ?
The listening tests were all done in mono and every listener heard every sample at least once while sitting directly on-axis.
Yes, I think the dispersion may have quite a bit to do with the Salon 2s relative performance. This aspect may vary quite a lot between rooms, so in an optimized room with a high quality early reflected diffuse field, the gap may be much narrower. I don't know for certain though.
I believe Dr. Toole has written that people like hearing early reflections with mono sources. I actually heard some early reflections explicitly, in particular on the "Spanish Harlem" track. But even without hearing the reflections explicitly, the sound from the Salon sounded a lot less like it was coming from a speaker and more like it was emerging naturally from the space.
I should mention that I use 90x40ish horns at home, which are a good bit narrower than the M2s even, and I am very satisfied with my sound. I recently watched a movie 100% in mono (on the center channel), and the sound seemed very uncolored with the image not tied to the speaker as seemed to be the case with the M2 in mono. A big difference may be my room, in which much of the sound from the horns interacts with diffusers. I also toe the left and right speakers in quite a lot, which sends a lot of their energy onto the far sidewalls. At the MLP, the stronger early reflections don't arrive for about 15-20 ms or so.
I somewhat regret having not spent more time in the sweet spot of the Salon 2s to better assess their stereo imaging properties, but I was having too much fun getting caught up in conversations and letting others enjoy themselves. A lot of stuff was being played a bit loud for my tastes. And anyway, the speakers sounded great anywhere in ear-shot. With that said, I do not recall experiencing the same focus with regard to imaging, the spatial detail, nor the degree of envelopment that I experience with my speakers at home. As I said, that may have a lot more to do with my room design though, and my design, in which I purposely avoid letting much energy arrive too early, may actually benefit from the narrower pattern because it's easier to acoustically control.
Something I'm a bit curious about is what raw polar measurements for the M2 horn look like. I saw some measurements posted on a German web site, but the resolution was very poor. What I saw didn't as impressive to me as I hoped, but because of the poor resolution, I don't really trust them. Significant variations in polar response, if they are present, could explain their "less-than-flat" sound and inferior off-axis sound quality compared to the Salon 2s. The extra early reflected energy from the Salon 2s may have had a smoothing effect on the subjective frequency response that made them sound flatter than the M2s, despite the M2 having superior spatially averaged measurements.
So what I'm basically saying here is that a speaker like the M2 or an even narrower horn might excel in a purpose built space, but in terms of getting the best performance possible from a speaker that's merely dropped into a room as-is, the Salon 2 appears to have a clear advantage.